Randomly selected pupils handed over their recommendations for improving youth participation in the German City of Brandis to the city council on 29 November 2022. The proposal is to set up a youth advisory council and a youth forum once a year with randomly selected participants.
These recommendations have been developed in a youth council with the cooperation of the association "Es geht LOS" by about 60 randomly selected pupils of the secondary school and the grammar school of Brandis. The proposals for long-term youth participation follow on from the participation formats already established in Brandis. These are:
- The youth project space of change (spoc) and the youth coordination
- the citizens' fund
- the online participation platform
- the "Mit-Mach-Stadt"
The participation proposals for Brandis were developed by pupils, "because the young people themselves know best how the participation offers have to be designed so that they enjoy taking part. Sortition ensures that very different perspectives, especially those of pupils who are not yet active in the pupils' council or in youth work, flow into the development of the participation concept," it says on the website of Es geht LOS.
In order for as many young people as possible to come into contact with the project, Es geht LOS worked closely with the secondary school and the grammar school in Brandis. Starting in grade 7, two students per class were randomly selected to take part in the process. The youth council then consisted of 60 pupils.
Randomly selected - and then?
In the first meeting of the Youth Council on 26 September 2022, the pupils had looked at instruments for youth participation that had already been tried out elsewhere. On this basis, they developed their own ideas and proposals for future youth participation in Brandis.
The young people took this collection of ideas back to their classes to get feedback on their classmates' suggestions. In this way, all the young people in the town were able to have an influence. The young people took the feedback to the second meeting of the Youth Council.
"Opportunity for students who would not otherwise get involved"
This second meeting on 2 November 2022 was then about developing principles for youth participation in Brandis, from which Es geht LOS created a draft participation concept by young people for young people. At the official project presentation, Katja Meier, Saxon State Minister of Justice and for Democracy, Europe and Equality, described the development of a youth participation concept with the pupils of the two secondary schools as an "innovative and courageous approach" that could sustainably promote the involvement of young people in Brandis.
This is also indicated by the reactions of the young people after the youth council. After initial scepticism about the random selection, one pupil, for example, said: "In retrospect, I see in randomly selected youth councils the chance that even pupils who are not otherwise involved discover their desire for politics and continue to get involved after the youth council."
City council to adopt participation formats
The aim is for the city council to adopt participation formats for children and young people based on the developed concept, which are oriented towards their ideas. In this way, the project will also serve as a model for how youth participation in municipalities can succeed effectively and sustainably.
Read more: Youth Council in Brandis